Weekend Box Office – THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Makes It Three in a Row; TOTAL RECALL Can’t Compete

     August 5, 2012

the dark knight rises batman bane

Going into this weekend, there were some people who believed Sony’s remake of Total Recall would give The Dark Knight Rises a run for its money. Those people were wrong. With an estimate of $36.4 million, TDKR claimed its third straight weekend at number one while Total Recall barely topped the debut of the Arnold Schwarzenegger original… back in 1990.

Title Weekend Total
1. The Dark Knight Rises $36,440,000 $354.6
2. Total Recall $26,000,000 $26
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 $14,700,000 $14.7
4. Ice Age 4 $8,400,000 $131.8
5. The Watch $6,350,000 $21.3
6. Ted $5,479,000 $203.4
7. Step Up Revolution $5,300,000 $21.3
8. The Amazing Spider-Man $4,300,000 $250.6
9. Brave $2,890,000 $233.3
10. Magic Mike $1,390,000 $110.8

the-dark-knight-rises-tom-hardy-posterThe first thing to note about this weekend’s top ten is that, overall, its total does not come close to equaling 2011 levels. August is not generally known for posting gigantic returns but, one year ago, Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes bucked that trend by opening to over $54 million.  Most say that theatre owners have the London Olympics to thank for this year’s lower-than-average estimates and their complaint may have merit. Four years ago, The Dark Knight largely avoided the Summer Games, which opened in Beijing on August eighth. By that time TDK had already enjoyed three weeks on top and would wind up holding on for a fourth despite its televised competition.

On this weekend in 2008, The Dark Knight earned its own third weekend at number one with $42.6 million. Though TDKR could manage only $36.4 million four years later, its rate of decline (-41%) was lower than its predecessor’s (-43%) at the same point. So, Olympics or no, The Dark Knight Rises is keeping pace. The two film’s domestic totals may not be equal – TDK had earned $393.7 million by its seventeenth day to TDKR’s $354.6 – but for that we can thank the tragic Colorado asterisk that will always attend the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

total-recall-remake-posterMoving on to Total Recall, what can I say?  Was the remake’s estimate of $26 million a disaster? Not exactly. Consider that the original film earned $25.5 million on its first weekend.  Of course that was twenty-two years ago – and I haven’t adjusted for inflation. Aside from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we can look at the opening of other sci-fi titles to get a feel for what a genre winner looks like in August. Back in 2009, the R-rated District 9 earned $37.3 million on its first weekend; and that was without Total Recall’s more accessible PG-13 rating.

I’ve heard budget estimates for the Total Recall remake that range from $135 to $200 million. If we take the higher end of the scale, there doesn’t appear to be a way for Sony to climb out of the domestic hole its film has dug itself. European audiences may look on Colin Farrell films more favorably than we do in the US, so there’s a chance that international grosses will make the difference. One piece of positive news is that Total Recall managed to avoid the fate of the Farrell’s last August remake. One year ago Farrell headlined the revamped Fright Night; a film that realized just $7.7 million in its first three days.

diary of a wimpy kid 3 dog days imageSince 2010 Fox has turned a small profit from its low-budget Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise.  Based on the popular children’s books, the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid cost the studio just $15 million and earned more than $75 million worldwide. One year later, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules did almost as well, opening to $23.7 million and ending its run with $72 million global. But in 2012, the series seems to have hit a rough patch. Opening this weekend in 3,391 locations, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days earned an estimated $14.7 million: far less than either of its predecessors. Of course, the first two Wimpy flicks debuted in March instead of August. I’m sure that Fox thought a summer slot would benefit their family-friendly franchise but it’s generally a bad idea to tinker with a winning formula.

Along with this weekend’s less-than-commanding debuts, the box office down-turn also hit holdovers where it hurt. The Watch fell 50% from its unimpressive opening weekend, bringing its ten day total to just over $25 million. On a happier note, Seth MacFarlane’s Ted reached a major milestone this weekend, crossing the $200 million mark after 38 days.

I mentioned that, back in 2008, The Dark Knight held the top spot for four weeks in a row. Though, with all things considered, The Dark Knight Rises has done an admirable job keeping up with its predecessor, its winning streak is destined to end at three.  Next weekend’s challenge will come from The Bourne Legacy, with Jeremy Renner taking over where departed star Matt Damon left off. The new Bourne is expected to open in the $35 million range – not a blockbuster but more than enough to send TDKR packing.


  • Zswick

    The numbers Ted is pulling blow my mind. Called that shit on Total Recall.

  • ozzie

    I’m more likely to see Diary Of Wimp Kid 3 than Total Recal … Mars was the coolest thing about the original movie.

  • Mike

    the reason why DKR is somewhat failing compared to TDK is because… its not that good of a movie…thats it.

    • Travis


      • Jose

        My thoughts exactly.

      • BillB

        Just because he didn’t like the movie doesn’t make him a troll and he is right it wasn’t good huge disappointment.

      • FAN-tastic

        Oh you fanboys. Batman Begins 3: The Dark Phantom Menace Rises: The Quickening is a shallow film. A preposterous plot that eschews the realism of its predecessors in favour of ludicrous plot turns and inane dialogue. Let’s even leave out the debate of what constitutes a “plothole” (hint: the same faults found in Prometheus are present in Rises) and just consider the fact there are no compelling characterizations in the film. Nobody wants to see it multiple times because nobody cares.

      • junierizzle

        Wrong, Fantastic. I loved it and have seen it three times. I’m not the only one. All these so-called problems are nitpicks. Sorry Nolan didn’t meet your expectations, sorry Batman didn’t die like you wanted. And the movie has plenty to care about.

      • Travis

        @BillB and FAN-tastic (for someone calling us “fanboys” as if it’s an insult, the name FAN-tastic is curiously ironic): It’s one thing to say you don’t like a movie, it’s your opinion of that movie. It’s something completely different when you make blind and unfounded assumptions. Anyone with a hint of common sense knows the reasons as to why TDKR has made less money than TDK; Pedersen even points them out in the above article. The number of people that like this movie outweigh the bitter little pills that don’t (and excise their random hate and other inadequacies on comment boards like this). And plenty of moviegoers have seen this film more than once.

        In light of the tragedy and the controversy, I’m proud of my favorite superhero standing up and kicking ass at the box-office, and giving people a well-needed reminder of the magic of the cinematic experience, and why it is so important for people to continue returning to those movie screens to be amazed, thrilled, and spellbound.

      • Griz

        FAN-tastic: same faults in TDKR as in Prometheus? Did they disarm the nuclear device in one scene, only to have Batman fly off with it in another? Cause that was my impression of when Noomi tries to stop and then run from an engineer trying to destroy all humans, only to then find a reason (ie sequel idea) to go visit the engineer planet to ask them why they chose not to kill us.. . . and btw: TDKR was the best ending anyone could’ve asked for, the fact that it fit so perfectly with the trilogy that it made you want to go back relive moments in part 1 just made it that much more complete. Do you know how many well-liked trilogies have part 3s that are in no way similar to the 1st: “Return of the Jedi” vs. “New Hope”, same with “Raiders of the lost Arc” and “Last Crusade”.

      • FAN-tastic

        Batman having his spine magically healed by a punch is about as sensical as her going to the engineers planet after they tried to kill her. Batman surviving a nuclear blast (when they show him in the cockpit with ten seconds before the bomb going off there’s literally NO FUCKING WAY he could escape and live). It’s fucking ridiculous. Sending the entire police force into the sewer makes about as much scense as to scientist getting lost in a ship they have a 3d map of. Cops running straight into gunfire when they have guns makes about as much sense as Shaw not running to the left away from a circular ship. At least Prometheus didn’t have anything as silly as a Bane’ s Hammond doing Sean Connery on Celebrity Jeopardy voice. AND prometheus didn’t have anything quite so stupid as my name’s Robin. Robin T. Boywonder.

    • Sean

      It’s not failing compared to TDK. It’s simply doesn’t have as long of legs. That’s extremely common with follow ups to highly successful films. Likewise, having your release tainted by a shooting at a movie theater and competing with the Olympics will OBVIOUSLY affect ticket sales. The only reason that someone would be disappointed by these box-office numbers is because the previous film set the bar so high. These are great numbers by any normal standard and even more impressive given the shooting and the Olympics.


  • will

    I could’ve told them that releasing Total Recall two weeks after DKR would be an epic fail.

  • Fiz

    I was surprised to see the 10:45pm showing of DKR sold out at our local IMAX theater this weekend. Figured interest would’ve dropped off even more by now.

  • mattinacan

    saw DKR for the second time this weekend, awesome movie, also saw total recall and it was horrible

  • Strong Enough

    but for that we can thank the tragic Colorado asterisk that will always attend the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

    ^ what an idiotic statement to make. It won’t always stick to it.

    • Donovan McLean

      Yes. It will. Does anyone mention Littleton, CO and not think of Colombine? Not likely. On top of that whenever, WHENEVER, anyone talks about TDKRs box office run in the future, it will be pointed out that the numbers may have been higher if the shooting hadn’t happened. People were dettered from going to the theater that and subsequent weekends. So yes, that asterisk will follow TDKR around for as long as movies are a thing.

  • Artwell

    The Dark Knight Rises will clear a billion worldwide by the time it’s released on Blu-Ray or sooner and this will go down in history as one of the best trilogies ever made. If you had trouble understanding what happened in the film that’s perfectly understandable as it does have a very complex plot and story and clocks in at nearly 3 hours. A lot of those so-called issued are resolved if you see it a 2nd time or a 3rd which I did earlier this afternoon.

    • Brent

      Who can’t follow that plot? I’m not really understanding how people say they’re confused when coming out of that film.

      • Junierizzle

        I agree. Its not hard to follow at all. If anything Nolan should be given credit for making all of that makes sense and in a brisk pace I might add.

  • Brent

    Who can\’t follow that plot? I\’m not really understanding how people say they\’re confused when coming out of that film.

    • Brent

      sorry for the double, it said i typed the code in wrong the first time…. and yet it posted anyway

  • Tim

    It looks like Batman and Bane are dancing.

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  • Right

    I’m sorry, but this latest Nolan flick is pretty crappy. The dark knight will forever be Nolan’s one and only good film. Total Recall looks like an animated feature, not a live action film-which I think is what is hurting it. The new Bourne film will not do well next weekend because no one likes Jeremy Reiner, so this latest bat flick will remain at #1 (I said I didn’t like the film, but I’m not blind to it’s popularity)

    What saddens me is the drivel and godawful crap we as audiences have had to endure in the last year. How many films have you been to in the last 12 months that barely had two acts, let alone three? I can’t possibly be alone in seeing that Hollywood has completely jumped the shark, can I?

  • Santelmojack

    I don’t see how it’s so Obvious to so many people that TDK is superior to TDKR, when you consider the weaknesses, in my opinion, of the third act of e second film, pretty much what happens after the Joker blows up the hospital. On repeat viewings, I found the Ferry part, Batman’s attack on the joker’s men and on Joker himself, and more than anything the whole last part with two-face, i found it all kind of an anticlimax and a bit boring. In TDKR i don’t think ther’s a moment when i was as uninterested as when watching those parts i mentioned in TDK. Any reactions?

    • Ray

      I truly thought TDKR was epic, these “problems” seem way too nit-picky to me also a movie-going fan is not supposed to act like they’re Ebert or something IMO. Bane was very physically menacing and good [even if you don't like his death]. Catwoman I’m in love with catwoman and Anne more than ever before. Levitt was pretty damned good, I saw a lot of guys from tv shows I’ve watched in smaller roles here which was cool.I’m going to take a better Bale performance, A great villain mostly, and a great peformance of “selina kyle” over the other two films at this point but that is just me, I’m sure someone will now call me names and go on and on over this sigh.

  • Wrong

    You have no idea what a good film is if you think Nolan has never made a good movie. Perhaps they are too smart for you to understand them. Nolan is one of the best writer/director working right now. And please tell me which movies did not have a third act?? I am confused.

    Total Recall was an alright movie, to close to a video game perhaps. The Bourne film will not flop because people know they have always delivered, and Jeremy Renner is a great actor, just because you don\’t like him does not mean no one else does. And yes you are alone on your last statement. However I will agree on the fact that Hollywood is scared to release original material because sequels and reboots do so well. That is the only reason we haven\’t got an original film since Inception.

  • paul tracy

    all i know is that Bane caught Batman’s hand during a fight…twice…staring at it…both staring at each other…He CAUGHT his fist, people. Twice. We haven’t see this grade of cheese in a fight scene since the 80′s. And I can totally understand why Stallone writes that sort of garbage for himself, but not for Batman.

    ~ p

  • Dear wrong

    Is this the part where you utter a bunch of threats because I don’t happen to agree with you? Really? I didn’t enjoy the film, I don’t like Nolan, he isn’t great, his films aren’t great.

    And I didn’t say Bourne would “flop”. Renner isn’t the same draw that Damon was during the first go-round: lots of people will still flock to Rises on it’s 4th weekend catching it up from Aurora/Olympics fatigue.

    I still hate Nolan, but can we be friends?

  • Matt

    @ Fan-tastic, hey moron, your comments prove that you are too dumb to follow the story in the movie. Batman didn’t have a hurt spine, bane knocked out one of his vertebra. And that guy punched it back in. And the ending has batman jumping out before the blast. You don’t know when or how many seconds were left when he did it. But you learn later he fixed the auto pilot, so he did jump out way before. So don’t criticize a movie that you can’t follow.

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